Interviewing the #UndauntedWoman: Elizabeth Legere

It's hard to believe the way this Interviewing the Undaunted Woman series has grown over the last several months. I've interviewed four amazing women so far and I couldn't be more proud to know women as strong as the ones who have allowed me to share their stories here on the blog. These women are survivors, each a warrior in her own respect, each a women who has battled - and defeated - her own personal demons. From domestic abuse to addiction, to postpartum depression and the lasting impact of childhood trauma, women everywhere are a testament to what it means to be human in all the right ways.

Not only do we stand tall and persevere, but we do it sometimes without even realizing the impact we can have on others simply by sharing our stories - both the struggles and the triumphs. Because it is in the very midst of our struggles that we inspire compassion in the hearts of others - and it is at the height of our triumphs that we give hope to those still struggling.

I didn't look for nominations for this month's woman - because I knew the second I met Elizabeth Legere that I wanted to feature her here, and as I learned more and more of her story, I only came to appreciate her more - not because she presents as a heroine, but because despite the depth of her story she retains the sort of humble spirit and contagious optimism that simply demand to be admired.

Tell me about yourself - what's your story, and how did you become an undaunted woman?
I really didn’t know I was an “undaunted” woman until you called me that. I have been through a lot but try not to dwell on things. My story starts in my teens with the death of my mom (19). This event changed my life. I had my oldest son at 23, my dad died when I was 28, at 29 my youngest son was born. A few years ago my boys dad and I split and the boyfriend I had was physically abusive, I lost faith in the justice system because he got nothing. I’m now back with the boys dad and we are stronger than ever. I had to grow as a person (quit drinking, enrolled in school).

I can relate to that sense of loss - feeling like even the police won't or can't protect you. I had an ex threaten to kill me once, and when I went for a restraining order, the court denied it because he hadn't actually tried to kill me yet. That's what makes a strong woman so admirable though - she's strong anyway. So tell me this then - have you ever struggled with confidence and/or self-worth? If yes, how did you overcome that struggle - and if no, how did you avoid it?
When someone berates you constantly you start to believe it. I had to remind myself that I’m worth something and I mean something. I still have anxiety and PTSD from being abused but I ground myself and remember I’m amazing.

Easier said than done sometimes, isn't it? But that's what makes an undaunted woman what she is - the perseverance to stand up and keep trying. What is the one thing you've survived that makes you feel most like an "undaunted woman?"
A man breaking into my apartment and jerking me out of bed from a dead sleep. He threw me into a wall and lifted me off the floor to throw me in the living room. He was so angry he spit in my face while he screamed at me. The justice system did nothing but have him attend anger management class.

That must have been horrifying to live through, and even more so without the protection of the courts. But having survived it now, what aspect of your current life do you find most rewarding?
I’m very proud and love my life now. I keep improving myself and everything I do.

That's the best any of us can hope for, I think. What's your favorite successful strategy or coping mechanism for dealing with challenging people or situations, and how is that strategy impacted by what you've survived?
When I’m facing challenging people I let them talk. Depending on the situation I agree with them because it’s pointless to argue or I tell my side (usually pointless). I try not to waste energy on them. I’m better than that.

That's one of the lessons I've been learning in my own life in the last several years - how to interact peacefully with people who aren't all that peaceful. I find it especially hard when the most difficult people are other women too, because it breaks my heart to know how few women truly want to reach out and lift other women up. What other woman do you most admire, and why?
My mom is and will always be my hero. She was an amazing woman that was very intelligent and strong natured.

It's good that you had that kind of relationship with her - a mother can make such a huge difference, can't they? But tell me, what one quality serves you best as an undaunted woman?
Standing my ground.

Another one I've been learning in my own life. Maybe that's part of why I so admire women like you - women who know where their boundaries lie and are comfortable defending those boundaries from being disrespected. But if you've got that mastered, what one quality are you most looking to improve in yourself?
My financial situation and to teach my boys to be good men.

Admirable goals, for sure! If you could do any one thing right now to help other women become undaunted, what would you be doing?
Listening to them.

It's amazing what a difference that makes, isn't it? Sometimes all a person needs is to be heard; regardless of who we are and what we've been through, we all have stories to tell - stories that deserve to be heard. That being said, if you could stand in front of every woman on the planet right now and speak into their hearts, what would you most want to say to them?
You. Are. Enough.

Three simple words. One small concept - but such a huge difference it makes in your life when you believe those words to be true. You are enough.

You are enough.

Thank you for being here, Elizabeth - and for being willing to share some of your story with my readers. It's stories like yours that give women like me the strength to survive our own struggles, and it's women like you who lay the groundwork for the courage of others to bloom.

If you liked this post or if you enjoy following this series, please feel free to share the link with the undaunted women in your life - let them know how much you appreciate their strength and resilience. Or ... you could even take it one step further and nominate a woman for next month's interview; you can find details on how to do it here! I'd love to interact with you in the comments too, so if this post touched or inspired you in any way, definitely leave a comment and tell me what you think of this series or what else you might like to see here!

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